Looking for a new credit card with a great introductory offer? Here, we'll explain what to look for when it comes to 0% intro APR offers, and why all 0% intro interest credit cards aren't made equal.
What's the difference between a 0% intro APR credit card and a low interest credit card?
Before choosing a card, it's important to know whether you're looking for a great introductory 0% interest offer, or an overall low interest rate.
A low interest credit card will have a low interest rate as its standard interest rate, while a zero interest introductory offer will charge no interest on purchases and/or balance transfers, but only for a limited amount of time, such as 12 or 15 months. After that intro 0% rate expires, it's important to know what your interest rate will be.
What should you look for in a 0% intro APR credit card offer?
Length of the intro APR period:
One of the most important factors of a no interest introductory offer is how long your interest-free period will last. This aspect is fairly straightforward — the longer you can go while paying no interest, the more money you'll save.
Purchase APR vs Balance Transfer APR:
It's important to know if you're planning to use this card for a balance transfer, new purchases, or both. Some cards will only offer an introductory 0% interest period on one APR or the other, while other cards will have a longer intro period for one kind of transaction.
Pay attention to the annual fee of any new cards, and make sure the amount you save in interest will be worth it overall.
Rewards and added perks:
While you might be looking for this new card with the main goal of a low interest rate, additional perks or great rewards can be a great tiebreaker if you find comparable offers from different card companies.
How do you qualify for a 0% intro APR credit card?
In order to qualify for a credit card with a great zero percent introductory interest rate, you should expect to need a good to excellent credit score with a long history of timely payments and a low credit utilization ratio.
If you're planning to use your new card for a balance transfer, your balance transfer will also need to be approved by the card issuer, which will depend on your creditworthiness. If your credit isn't quite built up enough, you may find that the new issuer limits your balance transfer below your expectations.
How to get the most out of a zero interest introductory period
Have a plan for a balance transfer
It's important to use your time with a 0% intro APR or interest rate to pay down your debt and make the most of your balance transfer. Maximizing your use of the introductory period will pay off for your long-term financial health by reducing your debt and improving your credit, and reduce the overall interest you pay on what you owe.
Keep an eye on the end of your 0% intro APR period
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that especially applies to introductory 0% APR periods. Make sure that you don't have a promotional balance left over or any new purchases, or you will begin to accrue interest once the intro period expires with no grace period.
Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.